The council’s crackdown on dog fouling has netted its first result after a Rugby man was ordered to pay £575 by magistrates.
Michael Carr had pleaded guilty to three offences under schedule one of the Dog Control (Prescribed Offences and Penalties, etc) Regulations 2006.
And at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (March 25), the 72-year-old, of Hillmorton Road, was fined £250 in his absence.
Magistrates also ordered Mr Carr to pay £300 costs and a £25 victim surcharge.
The court heard Carr, of Hillmorton Road, was spotted at the GEC Recreation Ground by a council officer at around 8.30am on Friday 18 October.
Carr was hitting golf balls across the recreation ground while his two dogs were left to run off the lead. When the officer saw one of the dogs foul, he approached Carr and - after Carr confirmed the dogs were his - told him he needed to pick up the faeces or risk receiving a fixed penalty notice.
But Carr ignored the officer’s request, left the recreation ground and was watched as he returned to his home nearby.
Later that day, at around 4.15pm, Carr and his dogs were spotted in the recreation ground by a member of the public.
When one of the dogs defecated, Carr was seen collecting mud from a nearby hedge and covering the faeces. When the other dog fouled, Carr covered the faeces with twigs before stamping the twigs into the ground.
The member of the public photographed Carr as he left the recreation ground with his dogs and reported the incident to the council.
The council decided to prosecute Carr after confirming he was the dog owner involved in all three incidents of fouling - and had ignored the officer’s warning of a fixed penalty notice.
The prosecution followed the launch of a council campaign to crackdown on dog fouling.
The council receives more than 300 reports of dog fouling a year from residents - and now wants the public’s help to catch the culprits.
A high-profile poster campaign has been launched, together with the council’s new mobile web app - which allows residents to report dog fouling online from a tablet or mobile phone.
Under the borough’s dog control orders, dog owners who fail to clean up fouling face an £80 fixed penalty notice. Failure to pay the notice could result in prosecution, with a maximum fine of £1,000.
Cllr Dr Mark Williams, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, urged residents to support the council’s campaign and report irresponsible dog owners.
Cllr Dr Williams said: “There’s really no excuse for failing to clean up after your dog, but the ‘scoop it, bag it, bin it’ message still seems to be lost on some irresponsible dog owners.
“Dog fouling not only makes a mess of our streets and parks, but also presents a considerable health risk.
“This prosecution illustrates the council’s determination to crackdown on the minority of dog owners who flout the law and damage our environment.
“However, we cannot be everywhere all of the time. We need residents to help us by reporting incidents of dog fouling, either via the app or by phone or email.”
When reporting dog fouling incidents, residents should include details of when and where the incident took place, together with a description of the dog and/or the owner.
Residents can report dog fouling via the Rugby App - www.rugby.gov.uk/app
Reports can also be made via email - EPT@rugby.gov.uk - or by phone: (01788) 533587.